End of January 2018 Report

Well, this is embarrassing.
For my first monthly update, I have by far the worse savings performance since I began this last August. Sigh. It was a tough month both for income and spending. So, instead of meeting my goal of saving 35-40% of income, we actually spent 8% more than we brought in. Ugh! (I don’t factor in retirement savings, if I factor that in then we did save 9% of our income this month). Here’s what went wrong:
Income: We are not salaried employees. We get paid for the work we do, and not usually immediately; it may be a week to months for us to be paid for the services. This was a slow income month for a couple reasons. For one, we took time off around Christmas, and since we get no paid time off, this was reflected in paychecks this month. Second, January is a notoriously slow time for reimbursements in our field- hopefully as this catches up, we’ll see some good paychecks in the near future.
Spending: We had a few budget busters in here. For one, our propane tank needed…

Staying Happily Married While Paying Off Debt

My husband and I have very different orientations when it comes to spending money. While I couldn’t exactly characterize myself as a saver, I dislike spending money. I don’t get that jolt of pleasure that many people feel when they fork over the credit card and make a purchase; in fact, it makes me cringe. I often needlessly delay purchases because of this. I might be in the store picking up certain specified items, like toothpaste and dish detergent, and will walk by the eye care aisle and think to myself, you are going to need contact lens solution soon. But, more often than not, I’ll walk right by and decide to wait to get that item (sometimes getting myself into dire need of that item). My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t shop very often, but if he goes into Target, he will inevitably come out having spent hundreds of dollars. He does this by buying items in bulk, stocking up when there is a sale, and spending money on items that might be nice to have but are not really necessi…

Don't Whine, Jill- Why I Don't Complain About My Debt (usually)

Having a massive amount of debt can be a real downer. It’s easy to start thinking of everything you could be doing if that debt wasn’t hanging over your head. Mostly, I think about how, if I didn’t have this debt, I would have the freedom to work less, and spend more time with my family. There is not a thing in this world that I value more than that.
Still, I rarely get too upset about my debt, for a few reasons.
Although our student loan debt is enormous (>$230K), the graduate education we received from these loans has allowed us to make a relatively high income. I know there are plenty of people who may not have had such a large debt load, but also made less of an income, and they’ve successfully tackled their debt. It’s certainly overwhelming to think about conquering such a high number, but with hard work, I know that it is doable.
Also, although by some definitions we might be considered poor (having a negative net worth and all), that is in no way our reality. We have never on…

What I've Been Willing To Give Up- and What I Haven't- to Conquer Debt

I love a good debt payoff story, and the more extreme it is, the more in awe I am. If you are living in your car, dumpster diving, working three jobs, etc. in an effort to get debt-free, you’re my hero.
But that’s not us.
Part of me really wishes I could go full speed ahead on this debt payoff plan, and make the drastic changes that would be necessary to make it happen in a relatively quick timeframe. But I’m not young, and I have a family, so there are only so many changes I’m willing to make. I especially don’t want my son, who is 7, to have to make a lot of sacrifices to pay for his parents’ money mistakes.
Things We Won’t Give Up-
Our Home: We bought our house a year and a half ago, upgrading from a small condo. It’s a lovely 3 bedroom colonial on a quiet street with great neighbors, in a good school district. It’s not an extravagant house by any means, but we could certainly have been fine with less. But we LOVE this house- the room for our frequent guests, the big yard for our son…

So Much To Do- Goals

As I stated in my first post, my major goal is to pay off our over $230K in student loan debt. However, the reality is that this is the major goal in a sea of other objectives. Now that the car loan which had been bugging me is paid off, I’d love nothing more than to throw every single possible cent at the student loan monster. Because I really, REALLY hate it. But more practical considerations have gotten in my way.
If you know anything about the world of personal finance, you know Dave Ramsey, and he advocates for paying off all non-mortgage debt before saving a sizeable (3-6 month) emergency fund or saving for retirement. After much consideration, I decided that this plan wouldn’t work for us, for a few reasons. For one, we’re too old to put off saving for retirement, and we’d miss out on the tax advantages. Two, both of us work in the same organization, and if something were to ever go wrong there, we could both be out of a job, making a good-sized emergency fund (6 months) sound l…

Some Backstory

The truth is, I’m partway into my debt-reducing challenge. We’ve been in deferment or paying the minimum on our student loans since we graduated from grad school (more than 10 years). Although I knew it was a lot, I honestly had no idea how much we owed. Instead of facing the monster, I stuck my head in the sand for a number of years. Occasionally, typically right as I was trying to go to sleep, anxiety would start creeping up on me. But for the most part, I just told myself- well, I’ll be in debt forever, might as well just not worry about it!
In August 2017, it hit me. I was actually just checking on my bank accounts online, and happened to find a “spending and budgeting” tool that indicated that, in the past year, our household had spent slightly more than we had earned. Whoa. How was that possible? We had moved to a new home just the past year, and had had a number of expenses related to that. But we certainly weren’t extravagant spenders…. or so I thought.
I started going through …


Hello! If you find yourself reading this blog, you're probably in debt, though probably not as much as I am. After years spent neglecting this debt, I'm on a mission to beat it. I'd be surprised to find any readers, but the purpose of this blog is to motivate me- to help with my willpower to do what needs to be done to rid myself and my family of the massive burden of student loan debt.

I'm Jill, and I am a mother, wife, and professional, and am also starting a new business. My career, along with my husband's, is the result of extensive schooling, and that graduate education for two was definitely not cheap. I also have leftover student loans from my undergrad. Our family total in student loan debt?


Yeah, you read that right. I didn't misplace a comma.

This blog will be my accounting of the process I am going through to be student loan debt free. It's a massive, and overwhelming, undertaking. Hopefully, I am up to the challenge!